Environmental impacts of motorized off-highway vehicles
Motorized transport is a component of many tourism products, including tours that are advertised as ecotours, and tours that operate in protected areas. Four-wheel-drive (4WD) and other off-highway vehicles (OHVs) many be used in ecotours for a number of reasons: • to transport inexperienced clients safely amidst potentially dangerous wildlife, e.g. in African game safaris; • to transport and control clients amongst wildlife more easily disturbed by pedes-trians than by vehicles; • to transport equipment for non-motorized activities, e.g. whitewater rafts, sea kayaks, mountain bikes; • to transport camping equipment and food for tour clients travelling by non-motorized means; • as the primary means of travel in terrain types where travel on foot is too slow or arduous for the distances involved; e.g. level us for the distances involved; e.g. level arid landscapes with little surface water. Realistically, therefore, the impacts of eco-tourism include the impacts of OHVs, but only where OHVs are legally permitted, where they are needed as part of an ecotour product, and where they are driven with due regard to minimize environmental impacts. There are also many recreational users of OHVs, both private and commercial, who drive them with no concern for environmental impacts and in places of high conservation value. Such use is clearly not ecotourism.
Environmental Impacts of Ecotourism